By Amit Acco, Partner

We often receive inquiries about whether a work visa is required for foreign nationals entering Israel to perform activities on behalf of their companies. This post aims to provide clarity on the legal requirements and potential consequences of making the wrong decision.

While there is no clear legal definition of what constitutes “actual work,” border control and on-site inspections are empowered to make determinations. Generally, it is understood that work involving hands-on use of tools or hands-on design are considered actual work.
  1. Carpenter building a house or furniture
  2. Mechanic repairing machinery
  3. Chef cooking in a restaurant kitchen
  4. Electrician installing or repairing electrical systems
  5. Fixing or installing plumbing fixtures
  6. Construction worker building a structure
  7. Welder joining metal pieces together
  8. Agriculture employee planting and harvesting crops.

In certain situations, simply being present in a construction site, clean room, laboratory, or other non-public area may be considered work, as these places are not typically open to the public. It is important to understand that the determination of whether an activity constitutes work depends on the specific circumstances and the discretion of border control and on-site inspections.

These are just a few examples of activities that involve physical work and direct manipulation of materials, tools or equipment. There are many more examples depending on the specific industry or job.

If a foreign national enters Israel and border control suspects that they have arrived for work purposes rather than as a mere business visitor, they may be denied entry into the country. In such case he will be sent back to his home country same day or few days after, while waiting in a detention center.

Additionally, if a foreign national is found working without a valid Israeli work visa, they may be subject to deportation. Itwill be the employee and employer responsibility to refute the assumption of illegal work or attempts to work in Israel without the appropriate B-1 work visa, which can be challenging in many cases.